Eating in Japan- Depato Food Floors

Eating in Japan is one of my favourite things to do. Wherever you eat the food is good. Even in the convenience stores. In fact, convenience store onigiri and arabiki sausage on a stick are some of the things I yearn for when I think about Japan. Something I worked out quite quickly on our…

Tokyo Olympics and Lockdown Fatigue

As of 8pm last night Melbourne entered its 6th lockdown. We only emerged from number 5 eight days prior. My lockdown fatigue is oppressive. It is being made infinitely more difficult by a number of factors. Foremost, the Tokyo Olympics. We started seeing the preparations for the Olympics in Japan from 2018. The very cute…

Sansankudo 三三九度

Three three nine times is the literal translation of sansankudo. An integral part of a Shinto wedding ceremony involving drinking sake. As you can imagine, Super Sake Boy and I were quite enamoured with the concept of building this ancient ritual into our own wedding ceremony. Trying very hard not to culturally appropriate, I have…

The Mothers of Invention

“Our need will be the real creator” Plato Monday night is sake night at our house. (Well, some other nights may be sake nights, too…) However, Monday night is Taste with the Toji night. Some of you may remember me writing about Taste with the Toji sessions last year, when our gorgeous friend the Sake…

The Red Thread of Fate

Unmei No Akai Ito 運命の赤い糸, the red thread of fate, connects you from your pinky finger to your destined lover’s pinky finger. It is a magical, invisible cord that can stretch around the world. It can tangle but can not break. The cord will eventually bring you together regardless of place, time or circumstance. It…

Romance in Japan

“Japanese are born Buddhist, marry Shinto and die Buddhist” is the old adage about religious tradition in Japan. However, these days it would probably be more appropriate to say “born Shinto, marry Christian and die Buddhist”. Ritual is popular in Japan. Religion not so much. Most Japanese consider themselves not to be religious, but they…

The Kimono Police

“The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know” Albert Einstein Last week I had coffee with a very lovely friend of mine. We used to work together and share many interests including mushrooms and moss. She is Japanese, and I am always amazed that after every conversation we have, I…

Osaka Obachan

Every country has its own subcultures and quirks. Some more than others. Japan has many, and I think it is one of the things that make the culture of Japan so very intriguing. One subculture I find particularly interesting is the “Osaka Obachan”. I believe it is rare to find such a trend in older…

Tanuki Pop-Up with Melbourne Sake

Spending time with a bunch of like-minded people is always lots of fun. Especially when your shared passion is Japan in general and sake in particular. Sitting with a lovely group of people talking sake, in a room full of people who love sake, being plied with sake by a couple of guys who really,…

Cultural Dysphoria

My very first time in Japan my kids quickly pointed out to me that the reason I liked the country so much and felt at home was because the Japanese people were all like me. Small, polite and very tidy and organised. It has taken me some time to understand that the real reason I…

The Blue Apple

When I was younger, my mum enjoyed asking us philosophical and unanswerable questions. The old classic, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound, was a favourite. Her other favourite, which always stumped me was, how do we know that what I call…

Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

In the last couple of weeks I have written a couple of blogs about ukiyo. One about ukiyo-e, woodblock prints of the Edo Period and one about Ukiyo, an excellent experience of story-telling and adventure in Melbourne. (Follow the links to read the blogs). During my research for these two stories I read quite a…